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EZQuest Boa FireWire (32X/10X/40X) review:

EZQuest Boa FireWire (32X/10X/40X)

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The Good Easy installation; attractive design; impressive CD-burning performance; built-in power supply; low price.

The Bad Poor audio-extraction and packet-writing performance; supplied Mac software not compatible with Mac OS X; skimpy documentation.

The Bottom Line The EZQuest Boa's mixed performance makes it better for burning backup CDs than ripping audio tracks, but its low price, Mac/PC compatibility, and integrated design offer a decent budget value.

Visit manufacturer site for details.

CNET Editors' Rating

7.0 Overall

EZQuest's Boa FireWire 32X/10X/40X CD burner has a brawny integrated design, fast burning speeds, and a budget-pleasing price to its credit. While its packet-writing and audio-extraction (ripping) performance are inferior, it's still a decent drive for backing up files and other business uses. The drive is available in speeds up to 48X/12X/48X. EZQuest's Boa FireWire 32X/10X/40X CD burner has a brawny integrated design, fast burning speeds, and a budget-pleasing price to its credit. While its packet-writing and audio-extraction (ripping) performance are inferior, it's still a decent drive for backing up files and other business uses. The drive is available in speeds up to 48X/12X/48X.

Boa construction
The EZQuest Boa's bare-bones package reflects its low $189 price. In addition to a FireWire cable, a CD-R, and a CD-RW, there's just a tiny 6-page guide to get you up and running; it's an easy process, nonetheless. A 12-page electronic manual comes on the setup CD, but the documentation is skimpy overall, with little troubleshooting guidance. The software bundle includes Ahead Software's Nero 5.5 for Windows and Roxio's Toast Lite 5.0.2 for the Mac OS. Unfortunately, only the retail version, Toast Titanium, is compatible with Mac OS X. The drive, though, is supported by Apple's built-in disc-burning feature, and it works with iTunes. To use the EZQuest Boa, you need a computer with a FireWire port and Windows 98 SE or later for PCs and Mac OS 8.6 or later for Macs.

Packing both the drive and the AC adapter into a single plastic case makes the 10.75-by-8.5-by-2.75-inch, six-pound unit as heavy as many notebooks, but it also looks and feels sturdy. A large pop-down cover emblazoned with the company logo protects the Sanyo mechanism. Sanyo's Burn-Proof buffer-underrun protection lets you multitask while your CD is burning away.

Good writer, slow ripper
In CNET Labs' tests, the EZQuest Boa excelled at burning to CD-R but posted average-to-worse scores on other tasks. The Boa's 2-minute, 39-second time virtually tied with that of the speedy, 32X QPS Que Fire. Despite its close resemblance to the CyClone CD Revo, however, the Boa took a sluggish 1 minute, 27 seconds to extract 27 minutes of audio, while the CyClone completed the job in just 52 seconds. All of the compared drives were slow at packet-writing 400MB to CD-RW; the Boa was about middling. But installing Microsoft Office 2000 Small Business Edition was equally quick for all the drives.

Typical for CD burners, the EZQuest Boa FireWire drive has a one-year parts and labor warranty. Technical support is offered via e-mail or a free, toll-free phone call for the life of the product. Phone support is available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. PT on weekdays, but on weekends, you're on your own. Try the company's Web site--it's well stocked with driver updates and support info.

Buy a Boa?
The EZQuest Boa's variable performance makes it better at some tasks than others. If you mainly want to create audio CDs on CD-R, the Boa burns with the best of them. Because of its sluggish ripping and packet-writing, however, it's an inferior choice for disc-to-disc file transfers or regular data backups.

Write tests
Time, in minutes, to complete tasks (shorter bars indicate better performance)
Audio burn to CD-R from image on hard drive (from 43 min., 11 sec. audio CD)   
Packet-write from hard drive to CD-RW (400MB directory)   
CyClone CD Revo 32X10X40X FireWire
3.67 
10.28 
EZQuest Boa FireWire (32X/10X/40X)
2.65 
10.64 
QPS Que Fire (32X/10X/40X)
2.62 
11.66 
Micro Solutions Backpack Triple Play CD-Rewriter (32X/10X/40X)
4.59 
n/a 
 
Audio extraction tests
Time, in minutes, to extract a 26-minute, 58-second audio track (shorter bars indicate better performance)

CyClone CD Revo 32X10X40X FireWire
0.87 
QPS Que Fire (32X/10X/40X)
0.89 
EZQuest Boa FireWire (32X/10X/40X)
1.45 
Micro Solutions Backpack Triple Play CD-Rewriter (32X/10X/40X)
1.52 
 
Read tests
Time, in minutes, to install Microsoft Office 2000 Small Business Edition (shorter bars indicate better performance)

QPS Que Fire (32X/10X/40X)
1.71 
EZQuest Boa FireWire (32X/10X/40X)
1.74 
CyClone CD Revo 32X10X40X FireWire
1.75 
Micro Solutions Backpack Triple Play CD-Rewriter (32X/10X/40X)
1.76 
 
The EZQuest Boa excelled at burning to CD-R but posted average-to-worse scores on other tasks. Its 2-minute, 39-second CD-R burn time virtually tied with that of the speedy 32X QPS Que Fire, but it took a sluggish 1 minute, 27 seconds to extract 27 minutes of audio. Its packet-writing score was middling, but installing Microsoft Office 2000 Small Business Edition went equally quickly for all the drives.

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